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Entries in Macintosh (40)


Apple iScreen on the Horizon?

iScreenToday I came across a very interesting story from DigiTimes (via MacNN) and at the Register about Apple supposedly working on a 'wireless monitor' (I assume it will use Wi-Fi).

From what I gather, this 'wireless monitor' or iScreen would be about the size of a Tablet PC but will have no processing power other than monitor hardware and a wireless transceiver. It's also purported to come with a detachable keyboard but no battery (now that seems odd). It's unknown whether the iScreen will have handwriting recognition or not -- though I suspect it makes sense to include this feature to better compete with Tablet PCs.

So, this thing would be a wireless terminal in the form of a flat screen monitor. If you're an old-timer like me, you might remember that old mainframes followed this concept of a central computer CPU with multiple 'terminals' with access. It's unknown whether more than one iScreen could use a single Macintosh or not -- I'd guess it's a single iScreen per Mac .

Even though this is all speculation, the idea of an iScreen with optional detachable keyboard intrigues me. Rather than hauling a laptop around the house, I could just take the screen. Since there is no CPU on board, it's possible that battery life might be quite good compared to a laptop or Tablet PC -- assuming there is a built in battery.

Of course, these kinds of rumors about Apple device often lead nowhere, like the long running rumors of a mythical Apple PDA which have never surfaced in real products. This could also be a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth wireless monitor you can hang on a wall or even a well-placed leak by Apple to divert attention. Still, a wireless monitor... that seems more in line with what Steve Jobs might consider a killer consumer device.

Here's to hoping for an iScreen! ;-)


Hello iBox!

iBoxWired is now featuring a new Cult of Mac story about John Fraser, a Minnesota guy who's developing the iBox(or whatever it might be called), a low-cost, pizza box Macintosh for $250-350. The final product is still 4 months away from production, and may face various legal problems.

The pizza box shape was last used by Apple in the 1990s, on their LC, Performa and Centris product lines. The low-profile shape works great for many users, because it takes so little vertical space on a desk and can be easily toted around by those who do not need something as ultra-portable as a PowerBook.

My guess is Fraser will be forced to sell just the basic box with RAM, hard drive and whatever else he can legally install, leaving buyers to locate, buy and drop in their own motherboard. Maybe Fraser can sell all the parts in a kit and provide easy-to-follow instructions. This might make the process a little less painful for the less technical.

Whatever Apple does legally, it's still a very slick idea: build a basic flat pizza box that can house a standard Apple Macintosh G3 or G4 motherboard, hard drive, RAM and other parts, letting buyers provide their own operating system. For a few hundred bucks, it should offer many budget-conscious users a perfect desktop Mac, now that the CRT-based iMac is no longer sold by Apple.

Go iBox! :-)


Vintage Hardware: Resources

Apple IEarlier this week I mentioned my love for old hardware, in particular Mac hardware and my Powerbook Duo 230. Well, I thought one way to encourage others to get some "Old Iron" cranking again would be by mention useful resources for old computers, parts and info.

First is MacResQ, a favorite company of mine. They offer both complete vintage Mac systems, parts and software for sale. Anything from old beige G3 systems to refurbished PowerBooks and parts for various machines at low prices. I especially like their weekly specials newsletter as they often offer great deals that somtimes sell out before they're noticed on the website.

For good information on old Macs, check out LowEndMac, The Pickle's Low End Mac FAQ, and Jag's House.

Apple History is a fun place to visit if you want to review old Apple hardware, all the way from the Apple I in 1976 through the Apple PowerBook G4 12" in 2003.

Lastly, check out Leander Kahney's Cult of Mac series of articles, particularly these about vintage Macs: Where Old Macs Go Off to Thrive and One Man's Retro Mac Revival, both very interesting reads.


Vintage Hardware Several years ago

Several years ago I read an excellent Wired magazine article by Mark Frauenfelder called Never Say Die. I just came across the article again the other day after a discussion of old computer hardware with a friend of mine.

I found it fascinating that there are still loyal users and supportive user communities actively using really old computer hardware and software. I'm not talking Y2K vintage Pentium or PowerPC boxes... I'm talking seriously ancient Commodore 64s, Apple ][s, Ataris, Amigas and old NeXt cubes.

And this brings me round to the point of why I'm mentioning this story, which is, I love old hardware! I love that old computers just keep churning away, refusing to die, like my trusty '93 PowerBook Duo 230.

Well, I've been inspired. I'm going to get my little Duo working again for travel. It's small, light, goes a long time on a charge and if it's lost or stolen, no big deal. I'll keep you posted on the Duo resurrection project.

Hopefully you too will consider dusting off a bit of trustworthy old iron and get it rolling again, just to show those newfangled whippersnappers what's for! :-)


Great PC to Mac OS X Switch Story

You may not know it, but I'm a big time Mac guy and in particular I love Mac OS X after switching over about 2 months or so ago. This morning I found a great story by Geoff Barrall at BlueArc on how he became so frustrated at his PC, he decided to switch to a Mac Powerbook running OS X.

What I found most amazing is, this guy is highly technical and has setup massive data centers and yet feels completely out of control in managing his lowly Windows PC... well he did until switching to OS X anyway. Here's a great quote:

"I often wonder how the average businessman or home user copes with this kind of situation. I have spent years building data centers and have some degree of technical competence but simply cannot seem to keep my desktop PC in good order."

Personally I love OS X because it never crashes. Well, I take that back, this week I had a crash after running for 2 months! So, if you're getting frustrated with your old PC, seriously consider a Mac running OS X. Visit a local Apple Store and check out the Macs and OS X... I think the switch will do you good! ;-)

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